Lowering the Bar for 2018

 

Let me just say that I’m super proud of you, Daniel. You did so many cool things this past year and listening to you talk about everything you achieved inspires me to do more with my time.

While you did achieve a lot of what you wanted to do this past year, I feel like I barely did anything. I had some lofty goals at the beginning of 2017, including running a half marathon and teaching myself calligraphy. Did any of that happen? Well, I did read forty books, which is pretty cool. Still feel like I could’ve done more, ya know?

This year I’m going to set goals for myself again, but instead of creating incredibly lofty goals, I think I’m going to keep mine simple. Some may call this lowering the bar, I call this celebrating the little steps I can take to help me reach my incredibly lofty goals.

Here are my incredibly simple, straightforward goals for 2018.

Read more books.

This past year I read a lot and I’ve told myself a couple times that, in 2018, I’ll push myself and read 60 books. Well, we’re only five days into 2018 and I already feel like that goal is too high. I feel like I’m setting myself up for failure by dedicating myself to five books a month.

So, instead, my goal is just to read more. I’d like to read 50 books, but as long as I match what I read last year, I’ll be happy.

I also want to read more horror novels by women and people of color. I realized over this last year that a lot of my favorite authors are white guys, which is just sad. I’m not saying Stephen King and Jack Ketchum and Joe Hill aren’t good writers, I just want there to be more diversity in the books I read. And the only way to make things more diverse is to actively try to make it so. I can’t just hope more women and people of color get popular, I need to work for it. If I just keep reading horror novels with great reviews, I’m going to read a lot of stuff by white guys. I want to give other people a chance.

Watch less Netflix.

Now when I say watch less Netflix, what I actually mean is I need to stop using streaming services to “fill time.” More often than not, I’ll spend a few hours on the couch watching something I’ve seen a million times just because it’s comfortable. It’s safe, in a way.

My goal for 2018 is to do that less. I don’t just want to fill time, I want to enjoy my time and I can do that by only using Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and Youtube to watch things that I actually want to watch. Stop re-watching the same things over and over and broaden my viewing horizons a bit. There are thousands of horror movies I haven’t seen and yet I’m re-watching Roseanne. Sad. 

Save money.

This has literally been goal of mine since I graduated college. I just need to save more money so I don’t end up going into debt every time a big bill hits. To help me achieve this goal, I’m going to try to do less retail therapy. I need to stop spending money on things just because I can. Now, I can still buy things I want, but only if I really want them and not because I need to “treat myself.”

I also want to spend less money on beer that’s just for me. I like craft beer because it’s something I can share with my friends. It’s an experience! Well, it’s not an experience when I’m sitting at home watching a movie by myself and drinking a beer I’ve had millions of times before. Basically, I sometimes treat beer like I treat Netflix. I spend my money on beer I’ve had before because it’s safe, not because I’m enjoying it. Of course, I’ll still buy beer for myself once in a while, but I don’t need to be spending $60 a month on Black Butte Porter. I could be spending that on stuff I’ve never had before!

Write more.

Again, this is literally a goal I’ve had since the dawn of time. I just want to write more.

In middle school, I wrote every single day and I had notebooks full of fanfictions and funny stories and poetry. Nowadays, I write like once a week and it’s not because I’m passionate about something, it’s more because I feel obligated.

Well, guess what, if obligation is what gets me writing then I’m going to need more of it.

What I specifically want to do is set up a writing schedule for myself and stick to it. No more of this waiting for inspiration or to feel passionate about it bull crap. That doesn’t work anymore. I need to change up my tactics.

Now, my goal is to write a novella and maybe a book of poetry by the end of the year, but that goal comes later. Right now, my goal is just to write more than once a week and to start writing things for myself rather than for work.

Take time for education.

Like I said in my last post, I work at an institution that gives its employees access to college level courses for $5 and yet I’ve only taken advantage of that a couple of times.

Of course, I have big, lofty goals for my education like going back to grad school and becoming a certified cicerone, but for now I’m going to start simple. I just want to make more time for my education, take more time to learn new things because it’s fun.

There are so many free online resources I can take advantage of. Last year, I was enrolled in a introduction to law course and a course on HTML coding for free through Coursera. Did I finish either class? Nope!

That just means I need to make more time for it.

Do more things with my time.

And to wrap up my 2018 goals, I just want to do more things with my time. Right now my free time is taken up mostly by Netflix, reading, crocheting, and work, which means I’m incredibly boring. I want to change that. I want to do more.

Some things I’m planning to do more of this year, mostly because it will give me things to do during the time I’m usually re-watching Gilmore Girls, are play more video games, get back into drawing and painting, listen to more podcasts, and try out different types of exercise besides running. I want to be an interesting person and right now all I can list under the hobbies section are reading and crocheting.

So there you go, those are my goals for this coming year. Yep, I pulled the bar way down for this year, but it’s worth it if in January 2019 I can look back and feel like I accomplished something. Setting myself up for failure isn’t a good thing. 

-EMS

 

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Don’t Feel Guilty for your Hobbies

Work trips might be fun, but they completely throw you off your game when you get back. The one and only time I’ve missed a blog post was because of my work trip to Seattle. I almost did the same thing today after getting back from Virginia. Work trips, man.

Thankfully, I basically wrote my post on the flight between Seattle and Pullman. Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about the term guilty pleasure and why it bothers me so much. For those of you who don’t know, according to Wikipedia a guilty pleasure is “something, such as a movie, television program, or piece of music, that one enjoys despite feeling that it is not generally held in high regard.”

Can you see why this phrase bothers me? No? Okay, let me explain. 

Generally, we use the phrase guilty pleasure in situations where we’re talking about our hobbies, but don’t want to be judged for them. An example of one of my many guilty pleasures would be Taylor Swift’s album 1989. Those songs are just too darn catchy.

But, wait. Daniel, you’re probably thinking “Emily, that’s not a guilty pleasure! I like her songs, too! I would never judge you for that!” However, there are a lot of people who would judge me for it. She’s too girly, too mainstream, too poppy.

And that is exactly why I hate the term guilty pleasure. Basically, it’s a label we use to police ourselves based on what other people think. When we use the term guilty pleasure, we’re saying “I know you’ll judge me for this, so I’m going to invalidate my own likes and dislikes so I can stay your friend because you’re a judgmental jerk.”

I have been trying to remove the term guilty pleasure from my vocabulary. At the risk of sounding dramatic, as I find my way in this world I’ve realized I need to start being honest with myself and be more comfortable with who I am. Yes, my friend might judge me for listening to Ke$ha while I run, but that doesn’t mean I should make myself feel bad for it. As long as I’m not hurting anyone or doing something out right illegal, no one should care what I listen to when I’m exercising or watching while laying in bed on a Friday night. I’m still a cool person and my pleasures are a part of that. I need to stop being a judgmental jerk to myself.

I’ve also been trying to be less of a judgmental jerk to other people. My biggest sin in that regard is beer. I am so bad about judging people I see in the beer cooler, buying Bud Light or Coors. Does it affect me? Nope. Should I care? Absolutely not. They obviously like Bud Light and their taste in beer doesn’t dictate their entire personality. This person could be very awesome and I’m automatically throwing up a wall by being so judgmental.

You do you, stranger in the beer cooler. I’ll do me and try to ignore the people who are judging me for my choice of beer. My beer can be way too expensive, way too strong, and way too hipster, but it’s what I like. I’m not going to preface my love of fancy beer with, “Well, this stout is my guilty pleasure…” so I’m not going to make anyone else do that either.

Well, there’s my rant. I love painting my nails, trying new lipsticks, watching Roseanne reruns, watching B-flick horror films, and listening to auto-tuned pop songs, and I don’t feel at all guilty.

Sorry for my late post. At least this time I avoided a punishment.

-EMS